No pretty pictures here. Just a statement.
One thing that has always been a thorn in my side in SL is the topic of freebies and gifts. I find it incredibly silly for people to log into SL and expect to “play” the game for “free” when a private company owns the servers the game is played on, a huge number of people put content into it every day from their own cost and skills, and people have to pay that company to put their content in world. I wrote a letter to Blue Linden about this last year.
I want to make a very strong statement about residents’ attitudes about hunts, freebies, etc. For every 99 grateful residents who enjoy the gifts they receive and the hunts that they participate in, there is always one jerk who makes it miserable for everyone else because they complain about lag, about the gift given, about where it’s set out or hidden, about how nothing will rez for them (probably because of client-side problems, but we won’t even go there), about how there are too many other people there trying to get the freebie for it to work.
Let me make something clear to you one percent who have complaints: that “freebie” you received DID cost something and the payback is often little or nothing, especially when a designer and the organizers hear disparaging comments.
What cost do designers incur, you ask? The designer is paying for the sim or parcel on which you are doing your hunt or getting your freebie. They paid to have it built, decorated, furnished, and monitored for lag or other problems either on their own time or their own dime. They also paid in time and skills in making that item you so blithely received and quickly put on and discarded and complained about. They are also asking their regular customers who pay for their work to suffer the lag and nuisance that comes of having extra avatars on the sim. There IS value to that “free” thing you received.
I hear from many of the complainers that their efforts in picking up that free thing drives traffic to a designer’s sim. If you know about how SL traffic is registered, the traffic number reflects occupancy of the sim of one minute per avatar per day, and it only counts if those avatars are there 5 minutes or more. (That means in order to get say, a traffic measure of 40000 for one day, a sim has to have at least 4000 avatars spend 10 minutes in the sim. Or 400 avatars need to spend 100 minutes in the sim. Were you to spend 24 hours in the sim looking for that freebie, you would only add 1440 to the bottom line. That’s it. And a touch down to grab a freebie registers as nothing.) It might give a boost in traffic the first day or two of the hunt but that’s it.
And what does a boosted traffic number bring anyway? A boost in classifieds, people argue. Truth is you have to have long-term, long-sustained traffic to see any substantial boost in classifieds because traffic numbers are zeroed out *daily.* One day of a hunt is not going to do much good. There are much more effective ways to push oneself up in classifieds than putting out a freebie or doing a hunt to increase traffic. Bottom line: Traffic is negligible.
I hear claim that the complainers spend money in the stores in which they are doing the hunts. Metrics shown to me by several designers disprove this. They don’t see a dramatic leap in sales after a hunt typically and generally don’t get people shopping in their stores because they are hunting for the gift, not shopping. It would seem a large portion of hunters are not spenders. They specifically want free things.
Why bother even giving gifts then? Sometimes designers are simply doing it out of good will—making fun for people, sharing their talents with residents, giving away a piece of themselves and their work. Many designers feel very grateful to their customer base and want to offer something to them and other shoppers they may have missed. Many want to get in on the fun. If you want to be more Machiavellian about it, perhaps they hope that they get to put their landmark in your inventory and give you a chance to see their work so you’ll come back and purchase. You paid very little for it because even your 15 minutes looking for it wasn’t as much time as the creator spent. It’s a gift or free sample, pure and simple. Accept it as such.
What’s it like when you complain about the freebie or gift you’re given? It’s just like you walked into someone’s home for a dinner they invited you to, trampled on their flowers on the way in, and then bitched about the decor of their house and the meal you were given. If you don’t like the thing given to you, throw it out and keep your mouth shut. And don’t go back the next time.
Thank those designers and organizers who provide the platform for you to enjoy your hours in SL. They are not required to. If they don’t, they don’t put their necks out there for criticism or complaints and their businesses go on just the same.